Goulburn Valley Suns fail to capitalise on chances and suffer defeat at the hands of Ballarat Red Devils right on final whistle.DAMEN FRANCIS March 31, 2014 4:10am
Red Devils defender Steven Thomson steps between his goalkeeper Aaron Romein and Suns striker Stipo Andrijasevic.
Goulburn Valley Suns slumped to a disappointing 3-2 defeat to Ballarat Red Devils in a pulsating maiden National Premier Leagues regional derby at McEwen Reserve on Saturday night.
Within minutes of Kristian Sarkies scoring a dramatic late equaliser, Red Devils substitute Michael Trigger curled a vicious corner inside the near post to snatch back all three points with the last kick of the match.
Suns goalkeeper Phil Petrovski got a hand to the strike, but was unable to keep it out.
Suns adviser Melvyn Wilkes rued his team’s inability to take its chances before half-time and ill-discipline in the closing stages.
‘‘There’s a player on the near post and then you’ve got the goalkeeper, so between them someone is culpable, so I’m going to look at the tape and find out,’’ Wilkes said.
‘‘It’s not a case of hammering the players it’s about building again.
‘‘I said as we came in (at half-time), the amount of chances we had from open play if we don’t start to take them we’re going to get punished and the evidence is there.
‘‘For whatever reason we took our foot off the gas in the second half and allowed them to come back into it.’’
For the second time in as many matches, the Suns conceded an early goal via a defensive mistake.
Left-back Zac Paraskevas attempted to volley a cross clear, only for the ball to slide off his laces and into the path of Dom Swinton, who stole in behind and made no mistake with his finish.
The Suns responded, with Hernan Espindola and Craig Carley going close to an equaliser and the home side eventually restored parity from the spot.
The referee awarded a penalty for handball and Carley stepped up and coolly converted the Suns’ maiden senior goal.
The Suns dictated play the remainder of the half, but failed to capitalise on their domination and were almost punished when Simon Murphy headed Nelson Salvatore’s inviting cross agonisingly wide of the upright.
However, the Suns did not heed the warning and after a tense start to the second half, Ballarat deservedly took the lead, when Swinton’s shot took a deflection off Cody Sellwood and looped into the top corner.
The visitors continued to press and could have gone further ahead, before conceding a second penalty.
Ben Clarke was sent through one-on-one and brought down by Red Devils keeper Aaron Romein.
With Carley subbed off, Sarkies stepped up and while his spot kick was well saved by Romein, the Suns midfielder smashed in the rebound.
It was perhaps more than the Suns deserved for a poor second half showing, but their joy was short lived as Trigger grabbed the winner.
Wilkes denied his side was overawed or outplayed and bemoaned two ‘‘stonewall’’ penalty decisions that were waved away, but admitted his side needed to be more clinical.
‘‘We did create a lot of chances and in the first half our game plan worked a treat, but once we went against that it was evident we need to structure it for the full 90,’’ he said.
‘‘It’s the lack of discipline to give it all away like that and it’s not good enough at this level.’’
Red Devils coach James Robinson was happy to start the campaign with three points.
‘‘I’m never happy to concede goals, but at the end of the day it’s a points business,’’ Robinson said.
‘‘There’s 26 games, so we’re not getting carried away. It was fantastic for spectators .
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